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ANTIQUITI E S.
A description of Thebes, from Diodo- fill in being, will enable you to
rus Siculus and Strabo. State of judge what degree of credit those that city under the Persians, Ro- recitals deserve. The dotted line man, and Turkish Emperors. The in the map, paling by Carnac, porticos, sphinx-avenues, edifices, Luxor, Medinet-Abou, and Gourand ruins of the great temple, nou, will indicate what the extent near Carnac, in the eastern part of was of this once famous city. Thebes, which building and ruins “ The great Diofpolis,” says are half a league in circumference. Diodorus Siculus *, ' which the The plain of Carnac, leading to
Greeks have named Thebes, was Luxor, which formerly was cover fix leagues in circumference. Bued with houses, cultivated at pre- siris, who founded it, adorned it fent. The remains of the temple of with magnificent edifices and preLuxor, and the magnificent obelisks, sents. The fame of its power and which are the most beautiful in wealth, celebrated by Homer, has Egypt, or the whole world, de- filled the world. Its gates, and feribed : Extracted from the transla- the numerous vestibules of its tion of Mons. Savary's Letters on temples, occasioned this poet to Egypt, Vol. II,
give it the name of Hecatompylis. Grand Cairo. Never was there a city that received OING from Cous towards so many offerings, in filver, gold,
Assouan, we leave the town ivory, colossal itatues and obelisks, of Nequada on the right. The Ma- each cut from a single stone. Four hometans have several mosques, and principal temples are especially a Coptic bishop resides there. The admired there, the most ancient of island of Matara is very near it, and which was surprisingly grand and two leagues further we discover the sumptuous. It was thirteen stadia ruins of Thebes, the magnificence in circumference t, and surroundof which poets and historians have ed by walls twenty-four feet in alike been eager to describe. Cita- thickness, and forty-five cubits high. tions from the ancients, who saw The riches and workmanship of its this city, will give you, Sir, an idea ornaments were correspondent to of what it formerly was; and an the majesty of the building, which exact account of the monuments many kings contributed to embel
• Lib. I.
+ Diodorus Siculus includes the sphinx-avenues, and the porticos, edifices, and courts which are built round the temple, properly so called s and we shali find he was very near the truth. Vol. XXVIH.
lish. The temple still is standing, assemblage of stones. Beyond Membut it was stripped of its silver, gold, nonium are the tombs of the kings, ivory, and precious stones, when hewn out of the rock. There are Cambyses set fire to all the temples about forty, made after a marvelof Egypt.”
lous manner, and worthy the atten. I have only quoted the principal tion of travellers ; near them are facts which that historian writes con- obelisks, bearing various inscripcerning the fourishing state of tions, descriptive of the wealth, Thebes, they being sufficient to power, and extensive empire of convey an idea of its beauty ; what those sovereigns, who reigned over I shall cite from Strabo will give Scythia, Bactriana, India, and what a picture of its decline, such as it is now called Ionia. They also was eighteen centuries ago.
recount the various tributes those “ Thebes, or Diospolis, presents kings had exacted, and the number only remains of its former grandeur, of their troops, which amounted to dispersed over a space eighty ftadia a million of men." in length. Here are found a great Before I tell you, Sir, how many number of temples, in part destroy- of the monuments described by these ed by Cambyses : its inhabitants historians still exift, it is necessary have retired to small towns, east of to inform you of the distribution of the Nile, where the present city is the ornaments, vestibules, courts, built ; and to the western shore, and edifices of the Egyptian temnear Memnonium *, at which place ples, left we should lose ourselves we admire two colossal stone figures, amidst their ruins. standing on each side; the one en “ In front of each of the temples tire, the other in part thrown down, of Egypt is a paved avenue, a hunit has been said, by an earthquake t. dred feet wide, and three or four There is a popular opinion, that the hundred in length. Two rows of remaining part of this statue, to- sphinxes, twenty cubits or more difwards the base, utters a found once tant from each other, adorned the a day. Curiosity leading me fides of these avenues, at the end examine the fact, I went thither of which porticos were built, but with Ælius Gallus, who was not in any fixed number. These companied by his numerous friends, porticos lead to a magnificent open and an escort of soldiers. I heard space, which fronts the temple. Bea sound, about fix o'clock in the yond is the fanctuary, which is morning, but dare not affirm whe- smaller, and in which no human ther it proceeded from the base, figures are ever sculptured, and from the colossus, or had been pro- very seldom those of animals.duced by some person present; for Walls, of an equal height with the one is rather inclined to suppose a temple, form the sides of this open. thousand different causes, than that space. These walls run in divergit should be the effect of a certain ing lines, and are widest at the end
* Strabo calls the temple, near which was the statue of Memnon, Memnonium,
+ Strabo is the only ancient writer who attributes the fall of this colossus to an earthquake; the rest all say it was thrown down by order of Cambyses.
farthest from the temple by fifty or that is to say, a phallus, which,
mensions of this gatė are forty feet The first of these porticos is en in width, fixty high, and forty-eight tirely of red granite, perfectly po- thick at the foundation. In the lished. Without are four rows of front are two rows of small winhieroglyphics, within only three.dows, and the remains of steps in On each of the latter, I remarked its fides, leading to its summit. two human figures, larger than This gate, so massy as to appear life, and sculptured with great art. indestructible, is in the rustic ftile, Colossal figures, rising fifteen feet without hieroglyphics, and magniabove the bottom of the door, de- ficent in fimplicity. Through this corate its fides; without are two we enter the great court, on two ftatues, thirty-three feet high, the of the sides of which are terraces, one of red granite, the other spot- eighty feet in width, and raised fix ted with black and grey ; and feet above the ground. Along within is another, of a single block these run two beautiful colonnades. of marble, wanting the head, each Beyond is the second court, which bearing a kind of crofs in its band, leads to the temple, and, by its
extent, * Strabo, lib. 17.
• extent, equals the majefty of the ceive their homage. These are building It is likewise embel- allegoric designs. In the poetic lithed by a double colonnade ; each language of the Greeks, the sun column is above fifty feet high, was painted in a car, drawn by and eighteen in circumference at horses, guided by Apollo. The the bale. Their capitals are in the Egyptians represent it on board a form of a vase, over which a square ship, conducted by Ofris, and seven stone is laid, which probably served mariners, who represent the pla. as a pedettal for statues. Two pro
nets *. digious colossal figures, mutilated The entrance, which fronted the by violence, terminate these colon- temple of Luxor, is greatly decaynades. Standing at this place, the ed; but, if we may judge by the astonished eye surveys the temple, obelisks that remain, it must have the height of which is most surpris- been most sumptuous. There are ing, in all its immenfity. Its walls two of fixty feet high, and twentyof marble appear everlasting. Its one in circumference at the basé ; roof, which rises in the centre, is and, a little farther, two others, of sustained by eighteen rows of co- feventy-two feet in height, and lumns. Those standing under the thirty in circumference. Each of most lofty part are thirty feet in these superb monuments is formed circumference, and eighty in height; from a single block of red granite, the others are one third less. The and does honour to the genius and world does not contain a building science of the antient Egyptians. the character and grandeur of which There are hieroglyphics, in various more forcibly impress awe and ma divisions, engraved on these obe. jeity : it seems adequate to the lisks, three of which remain standhigh idea the Egyptians had form- ing, and the other is thrown down, ed of the Supreme Being ; nor can Proceeding eastward from the it be entered or beheld but with great temple, after crossing heaps reverence. Its fides, both within of rubbish, we come to a building and without, are loaded with hiero- called by Strabo the sanctuary, glyphics, and extraordinary figures. which is small. The gate is ornaOn the northern wall are represen- mented with columns, three of tations of battles, with hories and which are grouped and- united unchariots, one of which is drawn by der one sole capital. Within are ftags. On the southern are two various apartments of granite. Here barks, with canopies, at the end of the virgin consecrated to Jupiter which the sun appears ; the ma was kept, and who offered herself riners guide them with poles ; two in facrifice after a very extraordimen, feated at the itern, seem to nary manner t. direct their proceedings, and re I have only described those parts - * Macrobius Somn. Scipionis. Mart. Capella, lib. 2.
† Jovi quem præcipué colunt (Thebani) virgo quædam genere clariffima et specie pulcherrima facratur ; quales Græci Pallaeas vocant. Ea pellicis more cum quibus vult coit usque ad naturaleni corporis purgationem. Post purgationem, vero, viro datur ; sed priufquam nubat, polt pellicatûs tempus, in mortuæ morem iwgetur. Strabo, lib. 17.
of the temple, Sir, which are in avenues and remains of another best preservation. Within its vast temple, ftill more ruinous than the limits are several edifices, almost firit. Its extent is fpacious, and so dettroyed, which, no doubt, apper- are its courts, which are entered tained to the priests and facred under porticos fupported by coanimals. Near the ruins is a large lumns forty feet high, without estiexpanse of water ; and we meet at mating the base, buried under the every step with remains of columns, fand. Pyramidal majetic gates, sphinxes, ftatues, coloffal figures, abounding in hieroglypics; the reand ruins, so magnificent that the mains of walls built with flags of imagination is kept in continual granite, and which the barbarity admiration and amazement. Were of men only could overturn; rows the ground occupied by the various of coloflal marble figures, forty entrances, porticos, and courts, ap- feet high, one third buried in the pertaining to the temple measured, ground; all declare what the magwe should find the whole was at nificence of the principal edifice, leait half a league in circumference; the scite of which is known by a hill and that Diodorus Siculus was not of ruins, must have been. But nodeceived when he allowed it that thing can give a more sublime idea extent.
of its grandeur than ahe two obeThe plain lying between Carnac lisks by which it was embellished, and Luxor is not less than a league and which seem to have been placed in length, and was once covered there by giants, or the genii of with the houses of the Egyptians, fable. They are each a solid block who lived in that eastern part of of granite, seventy-two feet high Thebes. Though, according to above the surface, and thirty-two Diodorus Siculus *, they were five in circumference; but, being sunk stories high, and solidly built, they deep in the sand and mud, they may kave not been able to resist the ra well be supposed ninety feet from vages of time and conquerors, but the bale to the summit. The one is are totally destroyed t. The ground split towards the middle; the other is at present much raised by the perfectly prelerved. The hiero. annual foodings of the river, which glyphics they contain, divided into bas covered it with several feet of columns, and cut in bas-relief promud, and the ruins are below the jecting an inch and a half, do hosurface. Corn, flax, and vegetables, nour to the sculptor; the hardness grow in the
very places where, three of the stone has preserved them from thousand years ago, public squares, being injured by the air. Nothing palaces, and numerous edifices, were can be more majestic than thele the admiration of the enlightened obelisks. Egypt is the fole country people who inhabited them. At the in the wor!d where men have perfarther end of this plain is the vil formed works like these ; yet there lage of Luxor, near which are the is not a city on the face of the globe
Diodorus Siculus, lib. 1. + Pocock, deceived by this total destruction, imagined Thebes formerly contained no great buillings except the temples, and that the inhabitants there lived in huts or tenis, &c. The testimony of Diodorus Siculus refutes this affertion.